Making the Grades
If someone could find a way to correct all human mutations, should we hail it as a breakthrough, or shun it as a threat to freedom, diversity, and tolerance? Such is the conundrum facing the society in X-Men: The Last Stand, where those with incredible powers caused by genetic alterations mix with the rest of the populace.
As in the proceeding two movies, the students at Professor Charles Xavier's (Patrick Stewart) School for Gifted Children walk the fine line between living as mutants and being sympathetic to the fears felt by people without the telepathic ability to throw cars. Yet the advent of this medical miracle is causing rifts even amongst the clique of X-Men -- Xavier's pet students and teachers possessed with highly developed and carefully trained special abilities.
Always ready with an opinion, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) doesn't think for a moment that giving up his rapidly healing body and metal-bladed hands would make the world a better place. But Rogue (Anna Paquin), whose touch means instant death, sees the anti-mutant drug as a way to fulfill her longing to embrace and kiss another living being.
While Xavier's students simmer on the possibilities, another assemblage of mutants have no hesitation in branding the new "cure" as diabolically evil. Led by the Professor's arch nemesis Magneto (Ian McKellen), this band of oddities consist of some old and new comers, including Multiple Man (Eric Dane), a guy who can create copies of himself faster than Kinkos; Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones), a big, unstoppable brute; Calisto (Dania Ramirez), an astonishingly fast-moving mutant-detecting GPS device, and of course the ever-popular Mystique (Rebecca Romijn), whose costume made entertainment headlines with her appearance in the initial "X" movie. Wearing only dark blue body paint, this shape-changing girl provides even more distractions in this third installment.
The battle between these opposing forces is inevitable, and the plot provides opportunities for all the other X-Men regulars to get in on the action, along with some extras, including the mutant moderate US President (Josef Sommer) who has put Dr. Hank "The Beast" McCoy (Kelsey Grammer) in place as his Secretary of Mutant Affairs.
Definitely violence will be a parent's chief apprehension when considering this movie for their children. With such a huge arsenal of weapons available via the range of bizarre capabilities within this minority group, adversaries may be toasted, frozen, crushed, sliced, diced or simply tossed away. Although the script encompasses issues of love, life, and death, not much dialogue gets spent on the usual deep discussion associated with such topics. Instead, the film focuses on physical confrontations where people, cars, houses, and even the Golden Gate Bridge are thrown about like toys. No matter how you cut it (pun intended), this makes for a rather family-unfriendly cinematic experience.
Also of concern are a couple of moments of sexual content such as a woman who aggressively attempts to seduce a man (both are fully clothed) and a naked woman shown with carefully positioned arms and legs.
Possibly the most positive element of this story are the ethical questions it will invariably generate. Hardly subtle in its parallels to current issues, the movie expounds the challenges of waging a war against a foe that is difficult to define and learning to live with and trust those who are "different."
Aside from these social issues and content concerns, X Men: The Last Stand does succeed at providing a thrilling ride, but likely will only be appropriate for your oldest teens. And if you think this third installment in the trilogy is the end of the X-Men, don't leave until the credits are done. As long as the money rolls in from this movie, no drug can keep mutants from coming back to make more cash.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about X-Men 3: The Last Stand.
What issues in our society are represented by the plight of the mutants in this movie? Is a “cure” always the best solution? What are the pros and cons of such a plan? What problems could arise when trying to decide who would be in charge of administering this medicine?
Who are “normal” people? Do they exist? What distinctive groups can you identify in our society? Is it possible not to belong to some type of distinctive segment of the population?